Our message of hope for Ukraine: “Take courage:-- God is with you.”

Chris Chaney knows a good solution when he sees it... and he knows that the water needs in war-torn Ukraine are in need of a good solution. That’s why the founder of Kansas City “pass-through” charity Give Safe Water was ready and willing to join us in our emergency response as soon as he learned about it. Chris has years of experience in raising funds for support of our work: in less than five years, he’s raised and passed along over $240,000 for our missions in Honduras and Haiti. But Chris had hard questions for us: how did we know our filters would go where they are most desperately needed? 

“It’s a truly daunting challenge,” says Sister Larraine Lauter (WWB Executive Director), “and our efforts may seem a bit quixotic... but in all truth, we are extremely pragmatic and strategic. Sawyer Products (our filter manufacturer) reached out with the news of a deep discount on personal, pocket-sized filter systems if purchased for distribution in Ukraine, but we didn’t accept the deal until we were confident that we had a careful, researched plan. Once we found and vetted our partners, Razom for Ukraine, once we knew we had a way to get filters deep into the conflict zones, only then were we willing to announce a campaign and place an order for these filters.”
Why? Because we knew it would take a very special, courageous group of people to get these filters to those who need them most: the people struggling to survive while under siege. It would take people with a personal passion, willing to take risks to save the lives of others -- and this little filter is indeed a lifesaver. We see outside organizations that are moving in with large-scale devices to serve refugees who have found some measure of safety, and we applaud these efforts -- but we know that getting filters deep into Ukraine will require insiders. “Razom means ‘together’”, reports Sister Larraine, “and for me, that was a final sign that we had found our partners. We know that we can’t do this alone.”

Since the start of the war, Razom has been exclusively focused on tactical medicine, reserving precious cargo space for essential medical supplies to be transported to civil defense units. When we brought them a proposal to include the Sawyer PointONE filters in their air shipments, the offer had to be carefully considered by their board members. Anastasia and Aleksey, Razom volunteers, reported that the Razom board understands the critical importance of clean water for health and survival, and so it made sense to make room for the small, lightweight Sawyer PointONE systems. 

In any disaster, compassionate people want to respond, but may not have the best solution. We ache to send teddy bears and clean clothes to the children we see in news reports... but the truth is, our compassion must be guided by research and wisdom...and precious air cargo space. There’s nothing more essential to survival in these circumstances than clean drinking water. Just imagine how the agony of loss and displacement, the chaos of escaping on foot through a war-torn landscape, will be multiplied by illness brought on by drinking from broken pipes, streams, muddy ditches. That’s why we and Razom are absolutely confident that these powerful little filters are worth the weight and space for emergency air shipments, why they must be fitted into every pack of medical supplies.
Each “mini filter” is packaged with a 16 ounce pouch, instructions in Ukrainian, and handwritten messages of encouragement and support. “Making the impersonal, personal -- that’s our hallmark,” says Sister Larraine. “We know the power of human hope is just as important as the power of these great filters.” Our volunteers have been working throughout this past week to prepare our first shipment, and among other tasks, they’ve been carefully copying translations of hopeful messages in the Cyrillic alphabet. “There are many ways to pray for others, and one is to simply be a messenger of hope. My favorite message is “Take courage -- God is with you.”

That’s Chris Chaney’s favorite too. As he spreads the word among Give Safe Water’s donor community, he’s hoping for hope -- believing that each small filter will bring tangible hope. Chris understands as well the priceless value of a personal word from a stranger -- even a stranger whose carefully transcribed message is awkwardly written. “I know, no, I believe” says Chris, “that God will help us get these filters to those who are most in need of them... and that will be those who are most in need of hope. That’s why I’m 100% behind this plan. It may seem small compared to all the other responses, but each filter will mean the world to those who receive it.”

One more message from Sr. Larraine; “We’re all heartbroken by what we’ve witnessed in this war, even from far away. We all want to do something... and together, we can. Together, let’s send a tangible, lifesaving message of hope to those for whom hope seems most out of reach.. And please join us in praying for the brave Razom volunteers who will be carrying our message of hope.”

Donate now to send a message of hope deep into Ukraine.

Наберіться сміливості, Бог з тобою. 
Take courage, God is with you.
Spring Fever is in Louisville, KY - due to limited staff please call the office before coming to the office during the week of April 4-8.
4th Sunday of Lent
Luke 15: 1-3, 11-32  

Love Beyond Measure  

If someone took a poll on what the greatest desire of humans is, I suspect it would be experiencing unconditional love. We come into the world with feet of clay, and make mistakes, sometimes more than we would like to admit. We want to be accepted for who we are, understood and loved.  

Luke’s Gospel could be called the Gospel of extravagant love. We find an older son who works very hard, does everything right, meets every obligation, fulfills every duty. In the parable, Jesus makes it clear that God’s love is not just for those who do everything “right,” but for those who strive to be in relationship with God. 

The parable turns everything upside down, rewarding the one who fails and walks away, showing disrespect for his father. The son’s decision appeared to be final, showing a lack of concern about his relationship with his father. We are given a story about separation and reunion, fragile human nature and failure. It dramatically demonstrates the unconditional love of God, a God whose essence is to forgive and bring new life. In a previous Gospel passage, Jesus is asked, “How many times should we forgive, seven times?” Jesus responds, “Not seven times, but seventy times seven times.” God does not demand a pound of flesh.  

I believe at different times in our life we are the older son, meeting our obligations and doing everything right, and at other times we are the younger son, feeling a sense of failure, acting without thought of the consequences of our actions, struggling with faith in a God who seems distant. God is ready to say, “welcome home.”

The Power of One Multiplied Four-Fold…
When You Become a Monthly Sustainer
You continue to amaze us at Water With Blessings when you choose the Power of One to transform the lives of others during these extraordinary times:
--The Power of Your Gift can help support training and equipment for more Water Women when you make a monthly donation, including with cash, check, credit card gifts or grants from Donor Advised Funds, that can all typically be matched by your workplace. Some large employers even match the donations of retirees.
The Power of One Committed Water Woman means clean water for her family and 3 other families and the power to eradicate waterborne diseases.
--The Power of One Click for you to become a monthly Sustainer today and reach more children needing safe drinking water.
The Power of a Single Sawyer PointONE Filter attached to a 5-gallon bucket means thousands of gallons of safe water for 4 families over many years. Multiply that impact by 145,000-plus Water Women around the world and see a big improvement in the health and survival for hundreds of thousands of children.
The Power of One Choice made today—please consider joining us and support our mission at www.waterwithblessings.org

Words of Wisdom from Volunteers   

It is always refreshing to hear words of wisdom from volunteers who have spent many years of their lives in service to others. Recently I read about the motivations for volunteers who have served with organizations around the world:.  

“I always wondered why somebody didn't do something about that until I realized I was that somebody.” Judith Hill - volunteered in Nepal  

“Volunteer with two ears and one mouth, and listen and learn from the people you’re working with.” Andrew Ashe - volunteered in Papua New Guinea 

“No single person will change the world, but when you volunteer you can create the ripple in the tides to create a better and happier world.” Megan Lewis - volunteered in Kenya    

“My host mom in Nicaragua once told me – ‘Every head is a world’ which reminds me to think of things from the other persons’ perspective and try to understand where they are coming from.”  
Daisy Stella Baldwin - volunteered in Nicaragua  

“One of the most important things I’ve done is to plant seeds in peoples’ heads, so that ideas can continue to grow once I have left.” Gareth George - volunteered in Nepal   

Please share your insights from volunteering with Water With Blessings. I would like to share your knowledge and experiences in a future Champion post. Just email me at Judy@waterwithblessings.org.

We believe every child should be drinking clean water. Are you with us?
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